Cypriots come to 'common understanding' on PDO for Halloumi and Hellim cheese
Following “tough discussions” with the president of the Republic of Cyprus, Nicos Anastasiades, and the president of Northern Cyprus, Mustafa Akinci, Juncker said “a common understanding as far as the geographical protected of Halloumi/Hellim cheese under EU law is concerned” has been found.
“The common understanding is highly symbolic and it confirms the willingness of the two parties to work together with the help of the Commission to build confidence with concrete measures,” he said.
Cyprus has been divided sine 1974, when Turkey invaded the island in response to an Athens-back military coup.
A third of the island, which declared itself the Turkish Republic of Cyprus in 1983, is inhabited by Turkish Cypriots.
The Republic of Cyprus, which accounts for the remaining two-thirds, is populated by Greek Cypriots.
A European Union (EU) Member State since 2004, the Republic of Cyprus applied to secure PDO status for Halloumi - a traditional Cypriot cheese made from a mixture of goat’s sheep’s and sometimes cow’s milk - in July 2014.
The application left producers of Hellim - the Turkish name for Halloumi - in Northern Cyprus understandably concerned.
Halloumi and Hellim currently account for around 25% of Northern Cypriot exports.
In July 2014, the Cyprus-Turkish Chamber (CTCI) said granting Halloumi PDO status would lead "to economic destruction" in Northern Cyprus.
Green Line Regulation
It is understood now, however, that PDO status will be granted to the traditional Cypriot cheese in both its Greek and Turkish names.
The EC said the "temporary solution" will be "implemented pending the unification of Cyprus."
"A proposal to modify the Green Line Regulation, in order to facilitate trade, will be adopted by the Commission on the same day of the publication in the Official Journal of the formal application to get the registration of Halloumi/Hellim as a protected designation of origin on the basis of Regulation (EU) No 1151/2012," it said.